The Adventure of Creation Anthology

With the official release of the How To Think Sideways Writers Anthology, I thought it might be interesting to explore the reason we are driven to create, and specifically why some of us are drawn to making pictures with words. Why is it that I sit down almost every day to write some words, even if sometimes my head hurts, or sometimes I’m so tired my Image courtesy of Clara Lam @ stock.xchngeyes are ready to fall closed, and write until my cat comes around to remind me that it’s time to eat? Why do I sacrifice overtime at work, turn off the telephone and the television, even put aside a book to write my own words? It didn’t take me long to figure out why, but I thought it might be fun to share my thoughts.

Why I write:

  • Writing enhances my experience of the world around me. Everything I see, hear, touch, smell and taste gains a new dimension as I fit words around it, trying to store as much as I can for future story reference. It’s a fun way to live!
  • I write to escape. Ah, the irony. Even though my experience of the world is deeper because I write, I still yearn to escape it? With words, though, I take the experiences I have and turn them into something completely new and different. I can live inside a world of my own creation if I choose. What could be more fun than that?
  • I write to make happy endings, or at least find some meaning in how our world works and why we’re here in it.
  • I write because I love words. Even though it makes me want to tear my hair out when the words come out crooked, once I get a sentence that sings there is peace in my universe.
  • I write to leave my mark upon the world—these are my cave paintings, this is me howling at the moon.

Adventure of Creation AnthologyHolly Lisle’s Adventure of Creation Anthology features thirty-five talented writers from her classrooms, each with their own story about creation leaving a mark upon the world, and it’s available today. I’m looking forward to checking it out!

Why do you write? What brings peace to your universe?

Journal image courtesy of Clara Lam @ stock.xchng

What's In Your Bucket?

jamiebucketAwful quiet in here lately …

You might think I’m hibernating— but actually, I’ve been absorbed in revision, (more on that soon) reading fellow writers’ works-in-progress (you guys are awesome, all of you!) and, okay, sleeping.

But I’m back because one of my cyber-buddies, the lovely and super-talented Jamie Ayres, has a book release coming up! This week, on January 24, her debut novel, 18 Things comes out. Be sure to check it out!

Isn't this a lovely cover!
Isn’t this a lovely cover?

As a way to promote her release, she’s sponsoring a fabulous blog hop that poses the question:

What are 18 Things on your bucket list?

Since I love to ponder what I want to do with my life, I simply had to come out of my winter slumber and post mine. So, without further ado:

My Abridged Bucket List:

  1. Experience weightlessness or zero-g
  2. Visit the Louvre and see the Mona Lisa.
  3. Read the top 100 novels of all time (though opinions vary widely on what those are!)
  4. Work at an archaeological dig
  5. Learn to play all twenty-one of Chopin’s Nocturnes on the piano.
  6. Swim with dolphins
  7. See an opera
  8. Visit the Haleakala Observatories on Maui and look at the stars
  9. Go hang glidingImage courtesy of Dave Dyet @stock.xchng
  10. Ride an elephant
  11. Celebrate Midsummer Night in Sweden
  12. Live on a sailboat for a year
  13. Pay off my mortgage
  14. Drive a Porsche
  15. Walk a half-marathon
  16. See the Northern Lights
  17. Visit Australia
  18. Hold a real live copy of one of my books published in hardcover

Stephanie Syjuco @stock.xcngWhew, that’s a lot of things! Makes me want to take a nap just thinking about them all …

How about you? What are some things on your bucket list? And, can you tell I love astronomy?

Congrats, Jamie on your  upcoming release, 18 Things!

Images courtesy of Dave Dyet and Stephanie Syjuco @stock.xchng

Book review: I & Claudius: Travels With My Cat

This has to be one of the better books I will read this year. It will most certainly be the funniest.

The laid back narrator Clare decides that she will take her aging cat Claudius on a trip across the United States, since he is nineteen years old and not likely to have much time left. Claudius is amenable to the idea, and accompanies her, commenting on her various misadventures, which include visiting men and women she has contacted previous to arriving at her destinations.

She starts in New York, where she visits some friends and finally tires of the city and heads to Nashville and Memphis, then takes a southern route through Texas, then Arizona and the Grand Canyon, and ends up in California. Claudius gives her several health scares along the way but she manages them with her usual aplomb, arranging to visit the vet and getting Claudius the Kentucky Fried Chicken he favors. Claudius, it turns out, is the only one she can depend on in this crazy world.

The narrative is so well written that I often found myself reading it twice because it was so funny and perceptive. Being British, Clare had some keen observations about American life that, though not deprecating, were still dead on accurate, simultaneously wacky and sage. The pages fly by, and despite the inevitable conclusion to Claudius’ journey, the devotion Clare has for her cat is positively inspiring. In fact, I think this story may be part of the inspiration for one of my own stories, temporarily shelved for the current Nanowrimo project.

A book I want to lend out so that others will enjoy, but will insist on getting back.

'Bait and Switch'-My First Ebook Experience

Let’s face it. I love my MacBook, but after the substantial outlay of cash it takes to bring one of these puppies home there simply isn’t enough money left to buy an eReader or an iPad. And books are free at the library…

Today, however, I stumbled upon the free download version of the Kindle Reading App. It runs great on my Mac and, better yet, I was able to download my first ebook for the astonishingly low price of 99 cents. The book I selected for the maiden voyage of my  e-reading adventure was a fine work written by ‘Storyfix’ blogger Larry Brooks, titled ‘Bait and Switch.’

I haven’t finished it yet, so there will be no spoilers in my review. However, even at this point, I know I will not be disappointed. The writing is magnificent; agile prose and nimble storytelling supplemented by sharp insights into the main character’s psyche via short excerpts from narrator’s own novel, a flourish that elevates the piece from entertainment into art as it pokes fun at the twisted idiosyncrasies of our own society.

Needless to say, I am thrilled with my purchase.

As if that weren’t enough, Larry Brooks has offered to deconstruct the novel in upcoming blog posts, breaking it down into its components to demonstrate his story engineering method for novelists who aspire to emulate his process. All of this absolutely free.

He says it’s an experiment for getting into e-publishing. For a skeptic like me, it’s a huge step as I begin to accept e-publishing as a viable alternative to print.

I have been careful about whom I choose as my guides on my writing journey, but I am always happy when I find one worthy of my trust. One simply cannot have too many good teachers.